THE 1975 CHEVROLET CAPRICE WAS AN ANACHRONISM ON WHEELS

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MyStarCollectorCar’s first order of business is provide a definition for our 10-dollar word of the day: “anachronism”. 

A 1975 Chevy Caprice convertible was an outdated mode of transportation even though its overall style was in vogue at the time. The reasons for the ’75 Caprice’s fatal case of untimeliness reflected the automotive era in many ways so MyStarCollectorCar will reveal why this stylish drop top did not make the grade after 1975.

The Caprice was introduced as a high-end luxury option for the Impala in 1965 and quickly became a standalone upscale model in 1966, consequently Caprices represented the Chevrolet brand in the market occupied by its pricier GM stablemates Oldsmobile and Buick.

Eventually the Caprice grew size-wise until it became the largest Chevy ever built (1971-76) during a time when big domestic cars began a steep decline in popularity because of a generous supply of automotive emission regulations and a short supply of gasoline due to the Arab oil embargo.

The sad result was a giant car with neutered horsepower, poor performance, and even poorer mileage. There was no way for domestic car builders to steer away from the disastrous financial iceberg sent their way via oil politics and a mountain of government red tape.

Consequently, the Chevy Caprice became a victim of the turbulent times because the sudden seismic shift was too much to handle for its builder. The 1975 Chevy Caprice was a dinosaur that did not belong in a new era of expensive fuel and poor mileage. Throw a convertible Caprice model into the mix and suddenly the car became yesterday’s news in a then- new 1975 market.

The domestic convertible was already in freefall by 1975 and the ‘75 Caprice was the last full-sized Chevy drop top model after its Impala sibling quit the convertible market in 1971.

The convertible fad for domestic cars ran its course during the 1960s but the Caprice carried on the outmoded tradition until its last drop top was sold in 1975. GM offered a Cadillac convertible in 1976, but the salad days of the drop top were largely over, even in the company’s upscale market.

The net result was a large-and-in-charge convertible that bucked the trend in 1975, a time when big drop tops were not popular and big gas guzzlers were radioactive poison during the fuel shortages.

1975 was a pivotal year for Chevrolet because they ended a legacy of big convertible models when the last Caprice drop top dinosaur was built for a largely indifferent customer base eroded by a changing market with a very close eye on gasoline supply and demand.   

There was no place left in the domestic car market for a new Caprice convertible after 1975. The day of the drop top was already over but Chevy did not get the memo that year and went ahead with a Caprice convertible.

BY: Jim Sutherland

Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section. 

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